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Thursday, October 22, 2009

What Happens Now: Questions and Some Answers

Obviously, questions are flying furiously since yesterday's out-of-the-blue announcement that Peter Laird has sold the entirety of the TMNT property to Nickelodeon/Viacom. I've managed to track down a few answers that may help provide some insight on what's about to happen.

First, a few people have released public, personal statements on this transaction:
  • Peter Laird - Co-creator of the TMNT, who allowed this sale to happen.
  • Jim Lawson - Long-time and beloved TMNT comic book artist.
  • Jake Black - Freelance Tales of the TMNT writer and source of inspiration for several fund raising efforts this year.

Some fans have noticed that certain parts of have disappeared, among them the catalog through which you could buy stuff directly from Mirage. Dan Berger reports, "We'll be starting a new web site soon where we're selling all the stuff we used to have posted."

Concerning the future of TMNT comic books, as Peter alludes to in his blog, some rights to publish comic books have been maintained. Dan was able to clarify that "Peter maintains the right to publish up to 18 TMNT comics per year that can be sold via the direct market and/or web site." To further clarify this, Dan states that Tales of the TMNT Vol. 2 will continue through to and conclude with issue #70, scheduled for next year. TMNT Vol. 4 will continue at a pace that only Peter Laird will be able to decide. Beyond that, they are (likely) allowed to do reprints, so long as they are between 32-48 pages, which rules out the publication of any trade paperbacks.

The inability to publish TBPs is why the "Mirage Universe" book, which had been scheduled for a December release, has now been canceled (as reported via Jake Black on Twitter and Facebook this morning).

When asked about "The Forever War" being published, Dan wasn't optimistic about its release, but added, "That's Murph's project." When asked, Steve Murphy's answer was, "I'm not sure."

While the TMNT have been sold lock, stock, and barrel to Nickelodeon/Viacom, Peter Laird stresses that he did not sell Mirage Studios. As Jim Lawson reported, Peter will continue to allow the artists to use their studio space, should they wish to. However, they would do so independently and not as Mirage Studios employees.

Dan states, "Mirage as an employer ends on December 31 of this year," then ads, "but the regular crew will be here at least 'til May as independent contractors." Dan himself forsees sticking around through at least the end of 2010.

Moving to the future as Nickelodeon has it planned, very little is known. There have been some unspecific reports that they already plan to head in a direction along the lines of the original 1980s cartoon. However, this has not been verified (and who knows if Nickelodeon is even 100% sure about which direction they'll be taking).

As for what happens with the current licensing deals already in place, a representative at Nickelodeon has stated to GamePro, "We plan on fulfilling all current obligations." This would apply to the current toy contract with Playmates Toys, as well as the video game contract with Ubisoft, among others.

The biggest unknown at the moment remains the fate of the planned movie. While a movie has been announced to be released in 2012, it is not known if this will be the same movie that had previously been on track for 2011 or if Nickelodeon will wipe the whole slate clean and begin anew. And if they do that, what direction will they take it? That is a question that remains unanswered for now.


  1. Wow thanks for all the updates. Seems like so much in such little time. Should be an interesting growing period for the TMNT. Concentration on the 80's toon environment seems like a logical place for Nick to start.

  2. Thanks for keeping us up to date!

  3. Thanks for posting this.

    I ´m sorry about the Mirage Universe book, i was saving money to buy it.

  4. I know this is wrong to say, but I almost feel like we're "owed" the Forever War after it was promised to us as far back as '05, and teased about in SM's blog a couple years back, and promoted with the release of Future Tense. Again, I feel bad saying "owed", but I'm sure others have the same feeling, like we may be robbed again...

    thanks for the info though!

  5. Man... I'm more worried about the future of the Collected Book volumes than anything else. I JUST HEARD that the first one had released months ago just yesterday. Now the Turtles have been sold, which means there probably won't be any more. Especially with that horrifyingly restrictive page count on reprints.

    I've been waiting years for these collections, so I must admit I'm kind of mad.

  6. Hate to say it, but I'm with NoGhostSaturn. Wasn't that thing supposed to be available already? I can forgive Laird for doing this, assuming there is even really anything to forgive, but not if it costs us that. Surely he could have negotiated for the stuff due to come out to run its course.

    And Nick said "we plan on fulfilling all current obligations," and I would definitely consider this an obligation.

    In any case, thanks for the update. It really is appreciated.

    --LBD "Nytetrayn"

  7. Do keep in mind that "The Forever War" isn't complete, and you can't release something that isn't complete. I'm disappointed the same as everyone else, but nothing about this deal is directly preventing that from coming out. If it were to get completed, Mirage would still be able to publish it.

  8. I'm really sad. The end of trade paperbacks is the biggest loss. Trade paperbacks are all I buy, so now there will probably never be a convenient way for me to get all the Turtle stories.

    Also, I really hope they go ahead with the film they were starting to make instead of scrapping it and starting over.

  9. This isn't necessarily the end of TPBs. It's just that now Nickelodeon would be in charge of the release of them. While the likelihood of them releasing any may seem slim now, if they ever did, the books would have MUCH wider distribution and availability than the ones from Mirage ever did. So I don't think it's anything to be fretful of just yet.

  10. What is left to be done on The Forever Wars.... ? I thought it was basically finished except for some inking and some lettering...

  11. I don't know how close to completion "The Forever War" is, but I've never gotten the indication that it's that close to completion.

    Whatever the case, it seems that what to do with it is being decided and we will know a definitive answer by the end of the week.

  12. That's cool that it's being decided. Yay! That makes me MUCH happier than it being up in the air. Where, praytell, did you glean the info that it will be decided by week's end? Or is that a top-secret source?

    *crosses fingers for a Yes answer*

  13. It's from Steve Murphy via Andrew Modeen.